Actually, let me clarify that. Why are we talking about customers being loyal?
This isn’t a new conversation. But many would say that in the days of online shopping, and arguably the most competitive era of automotive sales, it is more important than ever to focus on customer loyalty.
We do need to focus on loyalty, but not customer loyalty.
We need to focus on being loyal to the customer.
Yes, you read that right.
When I hear dealers say, “Customers just aren’t loyal anymore,” it always makes me pause. I’m anxiously waiting to hear what they say next.
It is usually something like: Profits are down, people are shopping multiple dealers online, the OEM isn’t giving enough incentives, people are unrealistic about their trade values, etc.
But let’s stop the insanity – like that ’80s chick Susan Powter with the white hair said – and follow the advice of author and businessman Stephen Covey by beginning at the beginning.
When we complain that customers aren’t being loyal to us, what we’re really complaining about is that they are not faithful, devoted, or obedient to us. (See synonyms.)
Let me ask you this: What have you done to earn their faithfulness, devotion, and obedience?
Are you supportive, faithful, devoted, and obedient to your customers?
Ouch. That’s a tough one, isn’t it?
To devote yourself to someone means giving them a large part of your time and resources, so ask yourself: Am I giving a large part of my time and resources to my customers?
If we’re being honest, we would likely say: I’m trying to get as much money as possible from my customers in the least amount of time possible.
Creating Real Loyalty
Now that we’ve been honest about the fact that we aren’t loyal to our customers, we have to look in the mirror and see that many of us do not deserve their loyalty.
This may sound bleak, but we have a beautiful opportunity to create the loyalty we want by shifting gears on how we view our customers.
In my Amazon number-one selling book, “S.E.L.L. Changing the Game Forever,” I share four simple principles that help create customers for life. The best part about these four simple principles is the simplicity of them!
We talk about loyalty from the perspective of customers coming back so we can sell them a vehicle.
If we learn how to SELL the right way, we will build lasting relationships and eliminate loyalty issues.
Principle #1 is that we have to serve the customer. Serving someone means devoting ourselves to their needs. Instead of looking at a customer as a paycheck, realize that they are a person, asking for help from you. They’re trusting you with one of their life’s biggest decisions. They’re trusting you to help them get a vehicle that will safely carry them to work, home, on family vacations. By putting their needs before ours and serving them selflessly, people will see that you care about them and they’ll have a desire to do business with you. It’s like the late great Zig Ziglar said: “You can get anything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want.”
Principle #2 is all about you being an evangelist for your brand. That means your store, yourself, your products, your service department. Gone are the days of good cop/bad cop with your manager and thinking people are ignorant enough to believe that you’re working against the manager with them to get a deal. Instead, know your products inside and out and know your competition too. Be ready to sing praises from the mountaintop for your product! Show your customers how great your service department is. Introduce them to the staff around the store before they buy so they can put faces to names and start to build new friendships with the service writers and receptionist. Let them know that your store will service them better than anyone else in the world because nobody cares more about them than you do! Believe in yourself/product/service/brand so much that it seems silly to consider elsewhere.
Principle #3 is hard for many of us in sales but it’s critical in showing people that we care, and that we are devoted to serving their needs before our own. The third principle is listen. There is a saying: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Ask questions that show your customers how important it is for you to help them find the right product. Listen with the intent to understand and ask more questions to clarify.
Principle #4 is love. Yeah, a few of you rolled your eyes at that one. But I tell you, this principle drives everything else and it is not the way you think about love. I’m talking about the type of love that puts others before yourself. If you really want to fix your loyalty problem, you must realize that you should love your customers. You can’t eat if they don’t buy. You can’t pay your bills if they don’t buy. You can’t clothe your children if they don’t buy. You can’t afford the gas to come to work if they don’t buy. So they feed you, clothe you, provide for you … don’t they deserve your love and devotion?